Martha Wilson is a pioneering performance artist, activist and gallery director. In 1974 she moved to New York and began creating photographs and videos which explore her self-image through costume role-play and artifice. Her art explores how society constructs concepts of femininity and beauty and seeks to show that identity is not fixed or static, but often part of a performance and façade.
I Make Up the Image of My Perfection / I Make Up the Image of My Deformity juxtaposes side-by-side photographs of Wilson’s face when she was 27 years old. She transforms her appearance by altering her make-up, pose and hair style. We do not know which of the two represents her true self. Wilson expressed, “In Halifax, against Alan Comfort’s refrigerator, I did a piece called I Make Up the Image of My Perfection / I Make Up the Image of My Deformity. We did it with camera angle and light and makeup, because we didn’t have Photoshop in 1974.”